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Old November 28th, 2005, 04:51 PM   #1
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Low-Light Stage Play

I was very excited about using this camera to film an annual stage musical production we do, but when I saw all of the complaints about low light performance, and this attrocious split-screen bug (which IMO is simply unforgiveable), I became concerned. Is this camera simply not an option for live event recording with variable lighting conditions (many of which being spotlights or low light)?

For reference, I used the Sony Z1 last year, and was not impressed with its low-light performance. Although I am not sure the cameras were color balanced properly, which exacerbated the problem.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 06:17 PM   #2
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When using a high definition camera in low lighting situations where bright spotlights are used there is a tendency for the cameras automatic exposure to adjust to the dark surroundings which causes too much light to enter the camera and overexposes the actors. Thus the exposure should be limited so that all the fine detail can be rendered. In opposite situations where you have normal ambient light and you are competing against windows that allow a lot of light the cameras AE may adjust to the bright windows rather than the lower light surroundings. In this case it is wise to crank up the exposure.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 06:37 PM   #3
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I use the Z1 to shoot performances. True - you absolutely must use manual controls. You'll probably also need to boost the gain (maybe a lot), but on the Z1 that works pretty well unless things are REALLY dark.

No idea about how the JVC would perform under these conditions.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 07:12 PM   #4
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Has anybody tried yet to shoot concerts with this camera?
I wonder how it behaves with moving lights etc on 720P25...
What settings work the best?
I saw the camera on an exhibition here in Belgium last week.
Since then I have been reading for hours each day the posts on this forum. Very exiting.
I shoot now with a PD-150, but I want to go in higher resolution for my recordings and to have more the film-look.
So I'm used working with 50i frames, not 25p.
It will be a new world opening for me if I'm reading all these posts.
Any tips are welcome. I'm about buying a HD100E.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 04:42 AM   #5
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Yes, I shot a concert in a low light situation in a club with the JVC. There was stage lighting only. But, I had to shoot DV though to match up with a second camera. I suppose that might make a difference.

Everyone commented on how terrific the images looked. Adjusted shutter speed for low light. I did not use any gain at all. No SSE.

Rob
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Old November 29th, 2005, 05:54 AM   #6
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Since you're from Belgium too and I'm about to have mine (in about a week now), perhaps we can test it somewhat? (you can give your email perhaps...)
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Old November 29th, 2005, 08:50 AM   #7
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Nate shot a live multicamera show for MTV2. Maybe he can provide a sample for us?
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Old November 30th, 2005, 09:53 AM   #8
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Werner, mine should arrive in two weeks. I have sent you a mail with my contact info.
Can't wait to start working with it and to be creative with all these settings you can do with the camera.
I did tests with a camera yesterday (I had it in demo for a day from the JVC dealer). Because I knew from this great forum that the camera has some Split screen problems, I did tests. Only starting at +6db I started seeing it. It had the latest firmware they told me.

To see some footage and to know the settings Nat used wood be great.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 11:12 AM   #9
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I shot numerous live events with the camera in a few different auditiriums. The issue doesn't necessairily lie in the fact that the lights are low. It's that the background is often a solid color. The low lit auditorium, combined with a solid color background makes for terrible shooting with the camera. I ended up with Close Ups for an entire event, otherwise I would have tripped off the split screen problem. On my wide shots even my corporate clients noticed the split, and in those wides the shot was held far too long to even bother beginning to try and correct a few million frames of footage. The sony does have a much more stable system, but I would not recommend shooting from the back of an auditorium or gymnasium with the lens.

With the HD100 it's as if light in the foreground with a dark solid background color sets off the split screen. It is such a bother when you can finally frame a wide shot that looks sweet, and then the split screen rears it's ugly little head. Anyhow, also be cautious as you may not initially see the split in your viewfinder or on your lcd. It really hurts when it bited you in the arse when your reviewing your footage.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 04:30 PM   #10
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Good Lord, it sounds like this camera is completely useless for a live event like this. Is this problem going to be fixed? Is it addressed in the HD101 model?
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Old November 30th, 2005, 04:49 PM   #11
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I shot a live concert for broadcast with the camera, and I was fine.

If you suspect your event will have a low-lit, flat surface as a backdrop, then you might want to be careful.

Huiy unfortunately has had bad luck with his subjects and split-screen. I don't doubt he's seen it a lot. In my projects, I've seen it seldom, and it's never made it's way into finished product.

Don't make the assumption the camera is useless for any purpose. You need to check it out for yourself. The split-screen issue is serious and it does exist, but the camera is still extremely useful.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 06:22 PM   #12
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The camera can indeed be functional-but only under the most prestine and controlled conditions. I shot outside in the daylight. No Problem. I intereviewed a subject and was able to light the subject just as I wanted. No issues. However, if you cannot control the environment, and you are shooting in low light then you will have problems. I can guarantee that.
Nate may have only seldom issues, however I suspect more often than not he is able to control the lighting conditions and environment where he is shooting at least to some extent.
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Old December 1st, 2005, 04:51 AM   #13
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Do you know if it helps turning the blacklevel down to -3 or so to avoid the SSE in very dark environments?
For most of the concerts I'm used to put down the Iris anyway to avoid over exposure of the lead singer lit by the followspot.
I will do some tests for sure in our demoroom with moving lights to see what exactly triggers the Split screen error when I receive the camera. I will post my results on the forum.
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Old December 1st, 2005, 01:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huiy Tang
With the HD100 it's as if light in the foreground with a dark solid background color sets off the split screen.
In a NORMAL scene -- one that is EVENLY lit with an EQUAL amount of light and dark objects -- you need to see a bit of Zebra on the brightest objects (when set at 60-70).

On a waveform monitor you will see accross the width of the image points that range from 0 IRE to 60 IRE.

In reality, any range of at least 50 IRE will prevent SSE.

By definition, a stage with spotlight and background IS NOT a NORMAL situation. The vast majority of the image is likely under 10 IRE with one area at 100 IRE.

On a waveform monitor this looks like a mountain on a flat plain. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. You are very likely to get SSE.

The only way to shoot this type of situation is to frame every shot to make it NORMAL shot.

Therefore, the bright object needs to fill AT LEAST half the area of the frame. On a waveform monitor that means a wide 100 IRE platau with a drop off on either side to 0 IRE. Now you set the Zebra for OVER100 and be sure there is Zebra ONLY on the brightest UNIMPORTANT highlights.

Alternately, set Zebra so faces are at 80-85.

ALSO you must set the camera for max latitude: KNEE at 80 and Black Streatch 3.

If you can't do this -- and keep gain to +6db or less to avoid noise in the dark areas -- then it's not a job for the camera.
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Old December 1st, 2005, 01:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Moore
Good Lord, it sounds like this camera is completely useless for a live event like this. Is this problem going to be fixed? Is it addressed in the HD101 model?
It's not going to fixed in any currently shipping model.

If you read broadcast magazines you'll see that HD camera either have problems with highlights or shadows. To shoot a live event you either relight it for broadcast or have very skilled shooters with skilled operators running the camera control units.
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